Bullying scene between two adult teenagersSome of the most savage assaults and batteries can bring about what we know today as a “mayhem” charge. These charges are just short of murder, meaning the person is left seriously injured, sometimes to the point of permanent injury. In California, more specifically, when somebody maliciously deprives a person of a body part, or renders a part of them useless, cuts out an eye or tongue, or slits their nose or lip, they will be charged with this crime. If somebody acts in a way that completely shows indifference to a person’s physical or psychological well being, aggravated mayhem charges may result.

By punching somebody, you will not receive a charge of mayhem. No, the injury that you induced on somebody must be so bad that it is permanent. For example, what if somebody was punched so hard in the jaw that their jaw broke? The defendant in this case would not be charged with the crime because this is not a permanent injury. Let’s consider a different scenario, though: The person decides to cut the victim with a sharp knife, rendering a couple of their fingers useless. This could bring a mayhem charge because it is permanent and the victim will have to live with those injuries. California Penal Code section 203 pc states that anybody who maliciously disfigures somebody can be charged with the crime, as long as it brings prolonged disability in the very least.

Can I Defend Against These Charges? 

Yes, given the right circumstances. For example, you could use self-defense as a defense in any case. However, you must be able to show that your actions resulted from a reasonable use of force to resist serious bodily harm or even death. You may also use the defense of it being an accident, which is when you accidentally disfigure or disable another person without doing so maliciously. It is an intelligent decision to use a defense when possible because, if you are convicted of mayhem, you may receive two, four, or eight years in prison for your crime. You could also owe tens of thousands of dollars in fines. This is why it is a good idea to speak with an experienced defense attorney today – call us now for more information.